Kitvison have very kindly sent us one of their Escape 4KW action cameras for test and review. The camera arrived safe and sound, well packaged and it was at our door swiftly after chatting with them.
Included in the box along with the camera and its waterproof case is a vast array of fixings and fixtures, such as a bar clamp, helmet mount, 3M sticky pads, securing straps, the relevant cables and a user manual. The mounts are the generic ones used with other camera manufacturers so they are easily interchangeable. The only thing that you need to buy yourself is a micro SD card.
We tested this camera whilst on a guided ride around the Lake District, as well as around our local trails in the heart of the Shropshire hills. The camera itself mounts easily to your helmet via the 3M sticky pads and we double secured it using the two supplied low profile fabric straps as we knew the terrain ahead was going to be rough. We also bought and used a chest mount to give us a better idea of how the camera performs from different body positions. The camera records from the press of one button on the top of the case and a ‘beep’ is heard to indicate it is now recording. Said ‘beep’ could be a touch louder though as when you are out and about it is difficult to hear it and know whether you are recording or not, especially when the camera is on top of your helmet. It’s a nice touch either way though as some don’t have this at all.
Kitvision states that the battery life lasts around 90 minutes, which we found isn’t far off and considering that same battery is supporting a rear LCD screen, isn’t too bad. If you are planning a longer ride however, we recommend taking an external battery to charge it up whilst you are riding the ‘boring’ sections. The LCD screen is a great and benefits greatly when using the 12 megapixel camera to take photos, rather than guessing you are aiming right as we have found with some other cheaper camera makes and models. The screen also shuts down during use to save on battery life but continues recording. One thing to take note of is that you have to press a button once to wake the screen up, then press the record button to stop recording. The first few times we used it we had a lot of wasted footage as it was still recording after only pressing the record button once and it just awoke the screen. Our fault though… doh!
Whilst in the waterproof case (that’s good for 30 meters although we only tested to 3 meters) the recorded sound is pretty quiet. Out of the case though the sound is of a good quality, if not a little wind swept at high speed but we have found that this is the case with the majority of action cameras currently on the market. It does pick up sound from a fair distance away too, making it great for recording by the side of a track allowing the full raw noise as the racers thunder by.
The lens itself shoots a 170 degree wide angle picture and hasvarious settings to choose from; 4K30FPS video, 16M photo, 1080P60FPS video, video playback and camera settings. We found that recording mountain biking worked best from the 1080P60FPS setting as the 4K resolutions are upscaled and record at a lower frame rate so you can’t slow the footage down. If you want proper 4K footage then this probably isn’t the camera for you. The picture and quality in 1080P is excellent though, considering the low price of the camera. The stability of the recording is great and the camera works well through various lights and terrains although it does perform better during the day over the night, but this is the case for 99% of cameras currently available.
The overall quality of the camera itself and the accessories that come with it feels good. The waterproof case snaps stiffly into place to seal and lock the camera inside, and we had no worries that it would suddenly open half way down the trail. The rear LCD screen is brilliant for taking photos and watching your videos back instantly rather than having to transfer to a mobile app or wait till you are home and on the computer.
What we liked a lot about the 4KW is its ability to create its own WIFI Hotspot, which means you can link it to your phone and use the camera options from there. This is especially useful for taking group photos remotely or starting a self-recording from the top of a hill whilst the camera is safely nestled in the bushes half way down. It’s also good for showing your mates how rapid you are on your phone with your footage at the pub after a big session on the trails!
The Kitvision Escape 4KW action camera is a well-priced and well-made bit of kit if you are wanting a camera to get some footage of your mates riding in front or behind you down the mountains, some photos of the views around you are some recordings of yourself tumbling over the bars as you try something new. If however, if you need a full 4K recording to use for work purposes where the quality and sound need to be exceptional then we would advise looking at Kitvisions more expensive range of cameras (that we are yet to review). Don’t get me wrong, the Escape 4KW is a good camera for general use and for a cheaper camera than others it has plenty of options for editing and some brilliant features like the rear facing LCD screen and the ability to swap the recording to upside-down so the actual camera can be used upside-down to achieve a better angle, but there are better quality cameras out there (All be it for double the price). The Escape 4KW itself though is remarkably well built, light, very user friendly and packed full of features that will keep you wanting to record every ride.